On Vancouver Island’s northeast coast, Campbell River is known for fishing and logging, but for outdoor adventurers, it’s a base camp to explore the island’s remote regions. Head for the hiking trails and campgrounds in vast Strathcona Provincial Park or several other BC parks, or go boating around the northern Gulf Islands. From Campbell River, you can taste your way through the farms and wineries of the Comox Valley, or learn about the area’s Indigenous communities. Campers have lots of options near Campbell River, including Miracle Beach (with a sandy beach on the ocean), Elk Falls, Loveland Bay, Morton Lake, and Strathcona Provincial Parks, as well as private RV parks and campgrounds with full services, from hookups to washrooms to wifi.
In British Columbia’s oldest provincial park, you can go hiking, canoeing, fishing, climbing, backpacking, and camping in both frontcountry and wilderness areas. Most of the vehicle-accessible campgrounds, reservable through BC Parks Discover Camping site, are open from April or May through September or October. The park stays open year-round for winter camping in the backcountry.
Accessible by ferry from Campbell River, these two islands offer more options for campers, including RV parks, backcountry sites, and marine access camping areas that you can reach only by water.
The towns of Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland are located in the agricultural Comox Valley, where you can buy produce fresh from the farms and sample the fruits of the growing craft beer and local wine scene. Be sure to poke around Cumberland, a fun little town with cool cafés and shops.
and early fall. The weather can stay comfortable through October, although you can have more rain. From April through June, in the more volatile spring, there are mild days, too, as winter rains abate and flowers begin to bloom. Expect winter snow at higher elevations. Trails in Strathcona Provincial Park can be snow-covered from late October through June.
- The most direct route from mainland British Columbia to Campbell River is to take BC Ferries’ car ferry from Horseshoe Bay (near Vancouver) to Nanaimo’s Departure Bay, then drive 90 minutes north to Campbell River. Make advance ferry reservations for cars or RVs in summer, or on holidays and weekends year-round. - An alternate scenic route between Vancouver and Campbell River takes you through BC’s Sunshine Coast, with three ferry hops that eventually bring you to Comox on Vancouver Island. - Pick up supplies in Campbell River, the largest commercial center in this part of Vancouver Island, if you’re heading for Strathcona Provincial Park, for Quadra or Cortes Islands, or for any of the north island’s farther-flung communities.